| PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS 16.08.2022 Embassy comment on hostile actions by YouTube, 16 August, 2022
On 15 August, YouTube deleted without warning 29 videos from the Embassy channel. Most of the videos were Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin’s interviews dated from 3 March to 15 August 2022. These interviews cover a vast number of topics, namely, Russia-UK relations, global food and energy crises, Russian compatriots abroad, the West’s illegal sanctions policy, as well as clarification of the aims and objectives of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
Notably, YouTube also censored videos containing evidence of war crimes committed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces against the civilian population of Donbass. In particular the suffering inflicted on residents of Mariupol by the “Azov” terrorist organisation. Furthermore, YouTube unilaterally deleted visual messages from respected Western cultural figures, including Emir Kusturica. It seems that the world renowned film director was “cancelled” for his calls to put an end to the Western imposed policy of primitive Russophobia.
YouTube’s administration decided to spare itself the effort of providing a justifiable explanation of its reasons for deleting the videos, preferring to hide behind the slicked-down wording “We think that your content violates our Community Guidelines”. Indeed, a very convenient and, most importantly, universal excuse.
It is questionable whether members of the YouTube staff who were responsible for this absurd decision are equpped with sufficient foreign policy competence to assess the official statements made by the Russian Ambassador to the UK based on easily verifiable data. We therefore regard the removal of video content from the Embassy channel as a crude attempt to limit our communication efforts and, most notably, to deprive the audience of a source of credible information.
YouTube administration should be aware that its actions bear the signs of a violation of OSCE principles and commitments on the freedom of expression and mass media, entered into by all participating States, including the UK. Moreover, the selective hindering of the Russian diplomatic mission’s activities, which, as we understand, do not contradict the laws and regulations of the receiving state, raises doubts about the platform’s adherence to basic norms of international law, enshrined, in particularly, in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Finally, YouTube’s policy towards the channel of the Russian Embassy in London can be viewed as discriminatory actions under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
We are used to regularly hearing our Western colleagues, including in the UK, talk about the primacy of the freedom of speech and mass media as fundamental democratic values. However, the constant repetition of these slogans, which have turned into a kind of mantra, is not preventing Western countries from themselves sliding towards authoritarian methods. Their mainstream propaganda outlets are eager to pontificate on the latest “agenda”, their “cancel culture” policy allows the suppression of signs of dissent, while remaining independent media are severely censored under the guise of “battling disinformation”. Regretfully, this trend seems to have caught up with YouTube, where comments of Ukrainian “trolls” and “bots” seem to be more compelling for the platform’s administration than statements by the Russian Ambassador, whilst direct calls for violence and hostility against Russians are somehow not incompatible with the “Community Guidelines”.
Acting against and in violation of the principle of freedom of speech, YouTube itself is undermining the initial reasons for its establishment, prompting numerous users to switch to other platforms where communities are not divided along the lines of “ours” and “theirs”.
We call upon YouTube’s administration to restore all deleted videos and offer an apology to the Russian Embassy in London for its groundless, excessive and discriminatory actions. Such a step would demonstrate to YouTube’s multi-million audience as well as hundreds of thousands of video bloggers from around the world that the platform can still be trusted. After all, without them YouTube is just digital code.
Many thanks to sovereigntea for this information and link.
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